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Mars "Cricket"

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Mars cricket

Mars cricket

NASA, submitted by Rob Clay; animation by Stephen Wagner
"I have recently taken an interest in the anomalies and such like from the Mars Rover photos," says Rob Clay. "I decided to play a game of "spot the difference" with photos taken at the same location, my theory being simple: if something was present in one photo and not in another taken at the same location [at around the same time], then it must have 'moved'.

"I have found something very interesting and shows that there is life on Mars; not a big creature by any means, but it does appear to have legs and look like an insect. I have called it a 'cricket'.

"In this photo, in the lower right-hand quarter, is a small area of sand, and perched on this is my 'cricket'. In this photo the cricket is missing!

"At first I thought that the upright pipe might be obscuring it, but if you relate [the 'cricket's'] position to the rock above it (shaped a bit like the Star Trek emblem), it is definitely missing, therefore it has moved. The address for the raw photos is http://marsrover.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit_n1861.html

"Can we name the cricket Robert after me, please?"

Rob, if we could prove it was a cricket and I was in charge of naming such things, I would certainly name it after you. So what do you think, readers? Has Rob spotted a critter on Mars? Other possibilities include something light (and not alive) that was blown away by the wind before the second picture was taken. Or the dark spot could be a photographic flaw or speck of dust on the camera lens. Then again, perhaps it is Marscricketitus Robertus.

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